Longevity News Digest
Why Extreme Longevity Will Help Ensure World Peace
Dear Future Centenarian,Â
I have often professed the probability of a big side benefit of extended lifespans “ less terrorism and crime. In fact, in Smart, Strong and Sexy at 100?, I wrote: œThe probable reality is things will be much improved in the future. Technology will deliver worldwide abundance, hopefully more peace and less envy, higher standards of living and ever-expanding possibilities.
Essentially, as technology extends and improves our lives, there will be much more to live for, making individual lives more precious. That means, people will have lots more to lose by engaging in risky behavior such as terrorism and war mongering.
I added œJust take a look at historical trends. Standards of living, healthcare and overall wellbeing have greatly improved throughout history. There™s every reason for them to continue and no logical reason for them to reverse. That means we will be more prosperous. Poverty is declining at an ever increasing pace, so individuals will have enhanced standards of living.
Better education, plentiful food, affordable shelter, exceptional healthcare for the masses and hopefully more freedom. Universal abundance. Marry all this with greatly extended healthspans, and human-imposed risks should decline.
Reason, from fightaging.org, recently expanded on this topic. Here are some excerpts from his commentary:
Longevity Induces Virtue
When you have more to lose, you behave in a more civilized fashion. This is a fair theory to explain why - despite the industrialization of war and nationalism - violence has in fact decreased over recorded history, even over the past century.
We have on balance become much wealthier, and that includes a wealth of healthy years in comparison to our ancestors. This alters the balance of risk and reward in favor of trade, cooperation, patience, peace, and long-term over short-term gains.
Can we expect this trend to continue? I don't see why not.
Reason then points to an article that says:
A major benefit of longer lifespans is the cultivation of a wide array of virtues. Living longer renders people more hesitant to risk their lives, for the simple reason that they have many more years to lose than their less technologically endowed ancestors.
Economic growth and improvements in the technologies of production help as well. If a person has not only life but material comfort to lose, this amplifies the reluctance to undertake physical risks even further.
When life is long and good, humans move up on the hierarchy of needs. Not starving today ceases to be a worry, as does not getting murdered tomorrow. The true creativity of human faculties can then be directed toward addressing the grand, far more interesting and technologically demanding, challenges of our existence on this Earth.
Life extension will lead us to avoid and eliminate the risks that should not exist, while enabling us to safely pursue the risks that could benefit us if approached properly. Of the virtues brought by greater longevity, greater prosperity and more rapid progress will do the most to shape our future for the better.
In the long term all that matters is knowledge and technology: everything else is fleeting, including our lives if we don't move rapidly enough towards practical rejuvenation treatments.
As always, you can benefit more than you ever possibly imagined. All you have to do is take the steps to optimize your health, and therefore your longevity. Be here to take advantage of emerging life extending technologies.
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
Another Study Showing Either No Effect or Reduced Life Span in Mice From Dietary Supplements - Monday, December 30, 2013
There is in fact little evidence for the benefits of dietary supplementation as commonly practiced in wealthier parts of the world.
Past results that suggest life extension or improved health in mice tend to vanish once researchers run more careful studies that control for calorie intake. This is taking a while to sink in, however: the supplement industry is enormous, has little incentive to give up its revenue stream or advertising programs, and that voice is much louder than the scientific community in popular culture.
Ellison Medical Foundation to Cease Funding Aging Research - Monday, December 30, 2013
The Ellison Medical Foundation has for the past fifteen years or so acted much like an extension of the National Institute on Aging, channeling philanthropic funding from Larry Ellison into investigations of the biology of aging.
This has been mainstream work with little to no involvement in efforts to extend life. The Ellison Medical Foundation didn't come about because Larry Ellison has any great interest in aging research, however: the interest was in furthering molecular biology, and the study of aging just happens to be a field in which a lot of cutting edge molecular biology takes place. By the sound of it the Foundation is moving on into a new phase of existence.
An Example of Engineering Bioartificial Heart Tissue - Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The biggest challenge in tissue engineering is still the creation of a blood vessel network sufficient to keep larger portions of tissue alive and functional.
A workaround is to use decellularized donor tissues in which those blood vessels already exist: all of the cells are removed, leaving only the scaffolding of the extracellular matrix and its chemical cues, ready to be repopulated by cells derived from the recipient. As these researchers demonstrate, that donor tissue doesn't necessarily have to originate from the same organ or even the same species.
Spurring Axon Regeneration in an Injured Spinal Cord - Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The scientific community continues to work on ways to spur or guide nerve regeneration, something that doesn't normally occur to any great degree in human tissues. Much of that focus is on spinal injuries, and here researchers have found a way to use one cell type to guide the regrowth of others.
The Magic Pill of Exercise - Wednesday, January 1, 2014
If regular exercise were a drug, people would stampede to buy it at any price. It is more effective for prevention and treatment of near all common chronic conditions - and for healthy people too - than any presently available medical technology.
The only thing to match it (and even do somewhat better) is the practice of calorie restriction. To be clear, you can't exercise your way out of aging to death on a broadly similar schedule to your peers - but exercise does correlate with a longer life expectancy, and given that we're in a race between aging and the development of rejuvenation biotechnologies to reverse aging, it would be foolish not to take every proven advantage along the way.
A Little Philosophy of Mind Uploading - Wednesday, January 1, 2014
A great deal of philosophical and metaphysical thought is devoted to the topic of mind uploading. We are moving into an age in which the emulation of human brains in software will be possible, and clearly strong artificial intelligence will result from that work, even if not achieved through other means.
There is considerable overlap between supporters of longevity science and supporters of work on strong AI. A large contingent of people view mind uploading - making a copy of their mind and then running it in software - as a perfectly valid approach to achieving radical life extension. Look at the 2045 Initiative, for example, as a determined outgrowth of this community.
This appears fine if you believe that a copy of you is you, but the problem is that this is not the case. A copy is a copy, its own entity. There are also other rather important existential issues inherent in existing as software rather than hardware: are you a continuous being, or are you just a sequence of disconnected, momentary separate beings, each destroyed an instant after its creation? A shadow of life and an ongoing atrocity of continual murder, not actual life.
So the details of implementation matter. Replace your neurons as they die, gradually, with long-lasting machinery that serves the same purpose in hardware and you are still you. Nothing is different as you transition continuously from flesh to machine. But to copy the brain and throw it away, to replace it instantly with that same end result is death.
So far as I can see there is no near-future technology of gradual machine replacement that is likely to provide radical life extension on the same timeframe as work in rejuvenation medicine. Artificial neurons for gradual replacement are a long way away in comparison to implementation of the SENS vision for reversal of human aging.
In any case, here is a little philosophical reading on mind uploading, with links to much more in the way of thought on the subject. It might not be terribly relevant to our future, but that doesn't stop it from being interesting.
Reviewing Membrane Composition and Species Longevity Â - Thursday, January 2, 2014
Mitochondria are important in aging, and in particular their relationship to aging appears to be somewhat mediated by how resistant their membranes are to oxidative damage - the evidence and theorizing around this is known as the membrane pacemaker hypothesis.
You'll recall that mitochondria are effectively the cell's power plants, generating chemical energy stores for use in many cellular processes. In the course of their operation they generate a continued flow of reactive free radicals that can cause oxidative damage - they themselves are the most likely target for that damage, but because they occupy such an important position in the cell there are ways in which their damage can lead to worse outcomes for the cell as a whole, and also for surrounding tissue. This process is one of the causes of aging, and it is why the development of mitochondrial repair technologies is important.
Here is an open access paper that reviews what is known about the link between membrane composition and longevity in various species. In general I view this as supporting evidence for the need for mitochondrial repair: I don't expect that anything of practical use in the near term can result from trying to change the composition of our mitochondrial membranes.
Neuropep-1 Versus Alzheimer's Disease - Thursday, January 2, 2014
There is always something promising taking place in the lab with respect to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of age-related neurodegeneration, but all too few such line items successfully work their way through the chain to clinical application.
A Different Approach to Designing Calorie Restriction Mimetics - Friday, January 3, 2014
A calorie restriction mimetic - usually a drug - is a treatment that can recapture some of the same alterations to metabolism caused by the practice of calorie restriction. Since calorie restriction extends life and improves health, so should a calorie restriction mimetic.
Most such work at the moment focuses on finding existing drugs that have some calorie restriction mimetic effects and side-effects that are manageable. Regulation makes it so expensive to produce new medical technologies that research and development is guided into marginal repurposing of existing drugs rather than working on better new directions.
Here is an example of the other end of the drug design spectrum, in which researchers work on identifying which epigenetic alterations should be made, and then think about how to design drugs to make those alterations. Despite the headlines none of this can turn off or reverse aging - it can only slow it down modestly, the same way that calorie restriction does. If you want rejuvenation, you have to look at the SENS approach of damage repair biotechnologies, not epigenetic manipulation.
Mitochondrial DNA Damage and Stem Cell Aging - Friday, January 3, 2014
Mitochondrial DNA damage is theorized, with a great deal of evidence in support, to be one of the causes of degenerative aging.
This research is somewhat relevant, but the focus on point mutations is problematic: there is other research in mice to demonstrate that point mutations in mitochondrial DNA are not all that important. The important types of damage are more severe, such as deletions in which stretches of DNA are simply dropped. The mice used here do in fact have an increased number of deletions, even though that isn't mentioned in the abstract below, so be careful of claims of associations of dysfunction with point mutations.
Read More https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2014/01/mitochondrial-dna-damage-and-stem-cell-aging.php
DISCLAIMER:Â News summaries are reported by third parties, and there is no guarantee of accuracy. This newsletter is not meant to substitute for your personal due diligence and is not to be taken as medical advice. For originating report, please see www.fightaging.org/
David A. Kekich
Maximum Life Foundation
"Where Biotech, Infotech and Nanotech
Â Â Â Â Meet to Reverse Aging by 2033"